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Just One Alcoholic Drink A Day Increases Men’s Risk Of High Blood Pressure, Study Warns

New research suggests that even small amounts of alcohol can damage the heart, especially in men.

Just one alcoholic drink a day can increase men’s risk of developing high blood pressure in healthy adults, warns a new study.

Previous research seemed to suggest that small tipple can protect the heart but this latest study claims it could damage it.

However, the results did not seem to affect women, only men.

The more one drinks each day, the higher the risk of developing high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

The worrying new study has led experts to recommend that those who do not drink already do not start, and that drinking alcohol in any form to gain potential ‘health benefits’ is not advisable.

Researchers analyzed data collated over a period of more than five years from seven large, observational studies comprising a total of 19,548 adults in the United States, Korea and Japan, collected between 1997 and 2021.

The majority of the adults (65 percent) were male, and participants ranged in age between 20 and those in their early 70s at the beginning of the study.

None of the participants had been previously diagnosed with high blood pressure or any other cardiovascular diseases, nor diabetes, liver disease, alcoholism or binge drinking.

 

Average alcoholic beverage intake was recorded at the beginning of each of the studies, with researchers translating this information into an average amount of daily alcohol consumed in grams.

The researchers then used a new statistical technique to combine the results of the separate studies and plot a curve showing the impact of any amount of alcohol typically consumed on changes in blood pressure over time.

Systolic blood pressure – the top number in a blood pressure reading – measures the force against the artery walls when the heart contracts.

This rises steadily as we age and is a strong predicatory factor for the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Effective management of blood pressure is known to be vital to reduce, prevent or delay the development of high blood pressure.

The results from drinkers were compared with those of non-drinkers, and the researchers found that the more one routinely drinks, the higher the risk of developing high blood pressure.

Systolic blood pressure was found to rise by 1.25 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) in those who consumed an average of 12 grams of alcohol – equivalent in Britain to around 1.5 units – a day.

This figure rose to 4.9mm Hg in those consuming an average of 48 grams of alcohol (six UK units) each day.

Diastolic blood pressure – the bottom number on readings which measures the force against artery walls between heartbeats and is not as strong a predicatory factor of heart disease – was also found to rise by 1.14mm Hg in those consuming an average of 12 grams of alcohol a day, which rose to 3.1mm Hg in those typically consuming 48 grams a day.

However, these diastolic associations were seen in male participants, but not females, according to the study published in the journal Hypertension.

In a nutshell, the study’s analysis confirms, for the first time, a continual increase in blood pressure readings in participants with both low and high daily alcohol intakes.

Even low-level consumption of alcohol was found to contribute towards detectable increases in blood pressure levels which could potentially lead to higher risks of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks, strokes and heart failure.

Dr. Marco Vinceti, a professor of epidemiology and public health in the Medical School of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia University in northern Italy, said the ‘surprising’ study showed no beneficial effects to those who drank, in comparison to those who didn’t.

Dr. Vinceti, also an adjunct professor in the Department of Epidemiology at Boston University’s School of Public Health, said: “We were somewhat surprised to see that consuming an already-low level of alcohol was also linked to higher blood pressure changes over time compared to no consumption – although far less than the blood pressure increase seen in heavy drinkers.

Although no participants had high blood pressure at the start of the studies, their blood pressure readings at the beginning of the study did impact the findings.

The AMA recommends that those who don’t already drink do not start and that those who do drink should speak with their doctors about the risks and benefits of drinking in moderation.

The Association also does not recommend drinking ‘any form of alcohol’ in order to gain potential health benefits.

 

Produced in association with SWNS Talker

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